Saturday, April 20, 2024

Hard Times Hit Latinos and Blacks

On Wednesday, the National Urban League released its annual report, “State of Black America”, measuring the disparities between blacks and whites in economics, education, health, civic engagement and social justice. This year, the report also included measurements of inequality for Hispanics.

Marc Morial, president and CEO of the 100-year-old civil rights group, said, “These are tough times in America, and they require a powerful and immediate response.”

Findings showed that Hispanics have an overall equity index of 75.5 percent, while blacks have an overall equality index of 71.8 percent.

Among its findings, the report indicated a great difference in 2009 real median household income between whites and minorities. The real median income was $34,218 for blacks, $37,913 for Hispanics and $55,530 for whites.  Coupled with that are higher than average unemployment rates of 14.8 percent for blacks and 12.1 percent for Hispanics compared to 8.5 percent for whites last year.

The National Urban League called on government leaders to act quickly and support a $168 billion plan to generate jobs. The report’s release coincides with the National Urban League’s Centennial initiative, “I am Empowered ” which has as a goal access by all Americans to a quality job with a living wage and benefits by 2025.

In areas such as health care, Hispanics are far behind blacks, who themselves are behind whites. The report finds that nearly one in three Hispanics are without health care coverage, compared to one in five blacks — 19.1 percent — and around 11 percent of whites.

Blacks and Hispanics also have lower levels of educational attainment with whites being more than one and a half times as likely as blacks and more than twice as likely as Hispanics to have a university degree.

Less than half of black and Hispanic families own their own home, compared to three-quarters of white families who are homeowners. In addition, blacks and Hispanics were both three times more likely than whites to live below the poverty line.

Another striking statistic is the incarceration rates of blacks, Hispanics and whites. Blacks are six times more likely and Hispanics are three times more likely than whites to be incarcerated.

The report noted that African Americans made positive strides was in the area of civic engagement. They say this is largely due to the huge turnout of black voters in the 2008 presidential elections that helped elect the first African American president to the White House.